“Paul, the aged…” (Philemon verse 9 KJV)
“For we have great joy and consolation in your love…” (Philemon verse 7 NKJV)
The verses above are the words of the Apostle Paul, writing to his friend Philemon. This letter of Paul’s is very short—twenty-five verses in all. In it, Paul also mentions the gathering of believers that met in Philemon’s home.
Scholars think Philemon was a wealthy person—believers (who at that time met in homes and not in ‘church buildings’), often gathered in the richest person’s home in their group, since that home would have the most room. I recall from my own childhood a family who was building a very nice home in a new subdivision, and before the interior was finished, a new church formed in their area with nowhere to meet. So, this family simply stopped work on what was to be their beautiful new living and dining area, and turned it into a meeting room for as long as the members needed. That memory has stayed with me for the rest of my life.
Paul, in his writing to Philemon, calls himself, “Paul, the aged…” (Philemon verse 9). So not only was Paul in prison, which he states, but he was getting old. Yet he finds consolation in this love from Philemon and the gathering of believers in his house.
The word for love in this verse is the Greek word agape—the love we have for God, that God has for us, and that we share as God’s people.
For days now, I’ve been pondering the question of how many individuals, especially the elderly among us, could say of me, “We have found great joy and consolation in your love…” Maybe you would like to turn that question over in your mind as well.
Mary Ann Simkins
Founder and Director of Operations
FaithPrayers National Prayer Line